This video explores the scientific secret sauce to living a full and more healthy life. And believe it or not, it only takes eight minutes a day using this shiny, super-expensive, brand new fitness and diet fad... oh wait, nope. The secret sauce is... compassion?! Watch the video to learn more about the power of compassion and how you can put it into practice.
Dr. Emmons and his meditating avocado have a simple, joy-boosting meditation you can practice anywhere. Use this Sympathetic Joy Meditation to let some sweetness in when you're feeling sour or salty.
Why does this kind of meditation work? Learn more about the science of compassion in this video blog.
Hooray! It's National Puzzle Day!
Press the play button on the video above to try the Affirmation Scramble. There are four affirmations to solve and they move pretty fast. Press play again [and again] until you have all four solved.
Puzzles can help calm stress, improve focus, and boost mood. How?
Here's one reason: Successfully completing a puzzle requires single tasking (vs. multitasking). Single tasking means that one task is focused on and completed at a time. Single tasking is soothing for the brain and body, whereas chronic multitasking can elevate cortisol and decrease mental sharpness and memory.
Want more single tasking in your life? Try our Single Task Challenge!
Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC... what's the difference? Can any of them help with anxiety? Depression? Do they make you high? Learn the basics below so that you can decide if any are right for you.
A Trip Down Memory Lane: Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC
Cannabis is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses. These sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils, and textiles. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.
Other varieties of the cannabis plant were identified as psychoactive (causing euphoria or the “high” experience) and were bred selectively for medical, recreational, and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that now known as marijuana.
While hemp and marijuana are both...
I’ll assume you’ve had a head cold before. Those viral upper respiratory infections (URI) bring the usual symptoms of fever, stuffy nose, and scratchy throat. However, have you also noticed that you feel crabby, unmotivated, foggy, or restless at night?
The culprit? Neuroinflammation. Yes, a head cold = a hot head (and a bad mood).
Here’s how it works: Viral infections like a cold (caused by viruses like rhinovirus) or flu (caused by the influenza virus) are foreign invaders to the immune system. The immune system works as a “defense and repair” mechanism and is closely linked to your neurological and psychological systems. When those bug invaders enter, your immune system revs up to defend. This activation can cue the process of inflammation to occur in your body and brain. An inflamed brain (neuroinflammation) can contribute to a depressed mood and brain fog (i.e., mental fatigue, lack of clarity, poor concentration,...
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”
-Anthelme Brillat Savarin, 1826
As far back as 1826, Savarin knew “we are what we eat,” and– more specifically– who we become. Functionally speaking, “food is information.”
Foods contain nutrients which provide directions to the systems of the body about how they will function, creating either positive or negative consequences. The nutrients we consume send messages to the brain and body about how it is going to behave. When we think of “food as information,” the focus becomes foods to include rather than foods to exclude.
The body and the mind are a connected, collaborative, community of interdependent systems. For example:
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States has risen over the last four decades. Two recent studies (one in Pediatrics and the other in JAMA Pediatrics) found that rates continue to grow, reporting that about 1 in every 40 children are diagnosed with ASD.
Why are so many more kids being diagnosed with ASD? Two key possibilities:
Another big problem: 30% of children with ASD are not receiving appropriate treatments. Treatments for ASD include medications,...
Adaptogens and nervines have gained popularity as options to support resilience in body and mind, and there’s growing evidence that they’re fit for the job. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your body and mind adapt more skillfully when faced with stress.
Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.
My cell phone rang during dinner with friends. Scott, my husband, had collapsed and was being taken to the hospital.
Panic rose in my chest as I made my way to the ER. The doctors struggled to make sense of his symptoms. Was he suffering a heart attack? An aortic dissection? A strange cardiac rhythm? I gasped for air as the doctors wheeled him from room to room for tests– and again when he landed in the ICU. Breathe, I told myself.
Soon after entering the ICU, Scott flatlined. My heart flooded with terror. The medical team rushed to his room and after a few minutes his heartbeat picked up again. I held fast to only one thought: Breathe.
Scott was taken to the operating room for a temporary pacemaker implant. Breathe, I reminded myself. Ten days later we were told that Scott has a very rare heart condition. Breathe, I thought. One breath at a time.
As an integrative, developmental pediatrician, I’m often asked how I deal with a constant flow of defiant, agitated, or hyperactive boys and girls who come in with their frustrated and burned out parents. It’s a fair question.
It may just be my wiring, but all that negative energy doesn’t get to me all that much. I actually enjoy the intense, creative, and outspoken kids and teens and can appreciate what I like to think of as their “leadership qualities.”
Of course, there are days when my emotional and cognitive reserves are low, and I experience compassion fatigue and get irritated or stressed myself. I have learned to practice self-care skills to help myself along on these more challenging days—techniques such as breathing, meditation, and inhaling my favorite essential oils to rebalance my mind/body/spirit. It’s on these more difficult days that I also recall the story of the Bengali Tea Boy which...
The NMH newsletter goes out twice monthly. You'll receive helpful tips, resources, and special offers to optimize your mental health and create more joy, calm, and focus in your life.